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France to give €150-€1,500 to key staff and families

Four million low-income households in France are set to receive at least €150 each to help overcome the Covid-19 crisis, as the government confirms grants of up to €1,500 for frontline staff and key workers.

President Emmanuel Macron first announced the extra funds for “the most needy families with children” in his national address on Monday April 14.

Read more: Macron: May 11 is start of deconfinement in France

Read more: Macron: More aid for tourism, firms and families
Eligible households will receive €150 each, with an extra €100 per child. To be eligible, families must be receiving benefits, specifically at least the unemployment income support Revenu de Solidarité Active (RSA), or the further unemployment income support Allocation de Solidarité Spécifique (ASS).

Low-income families may be suffering more from confinement than others, as they are having to spend more than usual  to feed their children, who would normally eat at the school canteen, and other exceptional costs such as higher energy bills from having everyone at home all day.

In the same address, President Macron said that schools in France would reopen on May 11, as one of the first measures of deconfinement.

Extra funds for workers

Healthcare workers are also set to receive a tax-free bonus of €500-€1,500 per person, for those who have been managing the worst of the Covid-19 crisis. Those at the frontline of the worst-affected departments in the country will receive the most; administrative workers and those in the least-affected departments will receive less.

These workers will also receive a pay increase of 50% for their overtime hours, which represents on average an extra €600 per person. This will also be tax (and social charge) free.

Other frontline staff, such as police officers and those who have been forced to continue working through confinement - including teachers who have been continuing to work for the children of healthcare staff, prison officers, and border control agents - will also receive a grant of up to €1,000 each.


Temporary unemployment

The government is also set to increase the budget for workers on temporary unemployment (chômage partiel) from €20 billion to €24 billion. These are workers who are unable to continue working but are still employed.

The details were confirmed by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe after a cabinet meeting yesterday (Wednesday April 15).

He said: “This unprecedented health crisis calls for responses at the same level as the shock we are experiencing.”

Laurent Saint-Martin, MP for Val-de-Marne and spokesman for the finance committee of the Assemblée Nationale, commenting on the funds, said: “This is an essential measure to help our most vulnerable citizens, to allow them to get through this crisis.”

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